Removing the body

Now the Jewish leaders have a problem – the bodies of all three crucified men must come down off the crosses before sundown – Friday at 6:00pm – the beginning of one of the year’s most important Sabbaths. 

If a Jew touches a dead body on Sabbath, he or she is ‘unclean’ for the Sabbath.

As well, an unusual Mosaic regulation found in Deut 21:22-23 instructs that a body hung on a tree must come down before sundown. To speed up death, the legs of the crucified men are broken. Jesus, however, is already dead. Roman soldiers confirm this with a spear to Jesus’ side, and blood and water pour out.

Joseph of Arimathea hurries to Pilate to ask for Jesus’ body, and –surprisingly – is given permission.

Deut 21:22-23

22 “And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance.


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